Higher education for better opportunities
After a two-year break due to the Covid pandemic, students from Indonesia travelled to Belgium again in 2022. Their trip was made possible through the YKAI project, which we have been supporting in their home country since 2003. Thanks to this project, young people who are struggling financiallyreceive a scholarship to pursue higher studies. Some of them also do an internship at Colruyt Group. This experience will definitely boost their chances on the labour market.
The eleventh edition of this initiative had quite a full programme. In a nutshell ...
Week 1: “Hello, my name is …”
Arriving in Belgium, getting to know the host family - volunteers from Colruyt Group - and attending an intensive English course. That was about it for the first week of these six young people. The project theme was also introduced: setting up a ‘green’ school in Indonesia. Challenge accepted!
Week 2: eco inspiration
The second internship week was all about sustainability. The students took part in a workshop on composting, visited Colruyt Group's crate washing plant and recycling centre, and went to see the technical department in action. The result? Tons of inspiration to continue working on their project.
Bahyul: "What we learnt about sustainability, we will definitely apply in Indonesia. The visit to the recycling centre was super interesting, because waste is still a huge problem in our country. We want to organise a workshop on recycling ourselves at our 'green' school and increase the awareness among local people."
Bahyul: “Tomorrow's Voices was a unique experience: getting together with other young people, learning from each other, as well as discovering each other's talents! I’m glad I was able to experience this.”
Week 3: personal and professional coaching
Throughout the internship, the young people could count on enthusiastic coaching by Colruyt Group employees. They supported them in the elaboration of the project, but also in developing their skills, both personally and professionally. In their third training week, for instance, the students were given many practical tips on giving presentations or finding a job. They also participated in the Tomorrow's Voices event and met young people and supervisors from other Collibri Foundation projects. With a workshop on sustainability and a real 'Collibri's Got Talent' show, that too was an inspiring day.
More about Tomorrow’s Voices 2022
Nila: "We often held consultations and received guidance from experts. Together we worked out many concrete ideas for our project: from an environmental policy to (extracurricular) activities. Very useful!”
Saefur: “Colruyt Group's architect even provided an ecological design for our new school building: a circular construction made of wood and with natural cooling! I also learned a lot during the internship about how the Colruyt Group website and app are made. Super interesting for an IT student.”
An exciting programme and a warm home. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
Week 4: the crowning moment
During the closing activity, students presented their project to their host families and Collibri Foundation assistants. They also shared their impressions of the past month. A cooking session and farewell party were the icing on the cake of a unique adventure.
A Belgian family
Bahyul: “This was my first time overseas. I see this trip and internship in Europe as a unique opportunity. The different culture in Belgium took some getting used to, but living here is pleasant. I even noticed that in traffic: when I crossed the street, everyone was attentive. By the way, I am very grateful to my host family: they were so attentive! They gave me everything I needed. Together we visited Brussels, Tournai, Leuven ... What a beautiful buildings! A real pleasure as a photography lover.”
Bahyul and his host mother Hélène
Hélène (Bahyul's host mother and department manager at Colruyt Marketing): “Being a host family was also enriching for us. Getting up close and personal with another culture is priceless. And of course it was also nice to show Bahyul around in Belgium. The only thing he knew about our country were the Red Devils. Both he and our three teenage sons love football, so sport was an instant icebreaker. Eating together was more of a challenge. For instance, Bahyul was reluctant to taste grapes at first, and he also found eating bread for breakfast quite strange. He used a washing machine and dishwasher for the first time, things we take for granted. These everyday things make this exchange so special. Getting in the car for the first time, going along on family visits, shopping together... Experiencing those ordinary activities together made a deep impression on Bahyul - and on us.”
Saefur and his host dad Noe schellinck
Saefur: “This internship was a wonderful experience. My host family was very friendly! In the supermarket, for instance, I was allowed to choose products myself - since I don't eat pork, for example. Sweet, isn’t it? Every weekend we went out together. My favourite trip? Aalst! My host dad talked and talked about the buildings and surroundings there. Super interesting!”
Ikopo (Saefur's host mother and product sustainability expert at Colruyt Group): “I myself lived and worked in Asia for six years. I recently returned to Belgium. It was enriching to really feel the Asian culture in our home now. We learned a lot thanks to this experience. And thanks to Saefur, of course. About ourselves, for instance, and about how to communicate better with people from another culture. Because that is not always easy. Saefur talked about what concerns him, and taught us how to avoid food waste. Together we visited different cities and went to concerts, the coast and even the swearing-in of the Belgian army. Saefur also went along to our family reunions, so he got to know not only Belgian but also Congolese culture. It was nice to see him gradually loosen up. This experience was a wonderful gift.”